Morning has Broken

Southwest Portland 
 She skirted the urge to insist that it was important that they take it as seriously as they did, watched the dog, and grinned when she took the string between her front teeth and tugged. "She seems to like you too, to be fair." Giving him that much when it seemed clear that he wasn't going to make her go head to head about a puppy.

"I'm Piper - you?" Leaning in, bent at the waist to offer her hand out to him.

 No doubt Pearl liked him more than the rescue ever would. Resigning to the reality that the best he could hope for was a few hours of play, Mac forced his face into a mold of stoicism. The puppy toddled off and tripped over paws she'd yet to grow into on her way over to freckle-face. Piper.

 "Mac." He replied, clipping off the pleasantries like wings from a bird ready to be caged. A volunteer approached the pen and he pulled his hands back into his lap as if he'd been caught doing something he wasn't supposed to. "What do we think?" Pointing, he nodded over to Piper.

 "Yeah, I think she wants to adopt her. Sounds like she'll give her a great home."

 You didn't do anything wrong. She focused on the notion, made the typeface in her own mind bold to try to help drive it home. Ignoring the natural inclination she felt to smooth and pick, to try to make sure any disturbances made on her part intentionally or not were put to rest. "I would, I think - do you have a ... thank you." Grinning when she was offered a clipboard, a form, and a cheap ballpoint with which to scribble all her information down.

 The top was mindless, the usual set of questions about name and address that she didn't need to focus on answering. "Where do you live?" Glancing up briefly before she moved on to the next box. "I mean, roundabouts."

 While Piper busied herself with the adoption forms, Mac kept the puppy entertained, teasing her with the string of his hoodie. Glancing up, he blinked at the unexpected question, grimacing when Pearl nipped his fingers with needle-sharp puppy teeth.

 "Uh." This wasn’t supposed to be something someone thought about. It was one of those automatic answers like a name or a birthday. "North Portland." If he took the average location of the couches he crashed on, that was the most accurate response he could give. "Why?"

 "Oh, that's cool! Me too!" She looked up briefly and grinned, as if the coincidence was one in a million - like North Portland didn't encompass a whole slew of districts and neighborhoods. She went back to her forms, took her time reading over every point to make sure she was up to the responsibility before initialing accordingly.

 The lull of looking busy gave her the time to really consider if she was being ridiculous or not, well appreciated. "I was just thinking, I want her to be her best self - you know?" Looking up briefly before she turned over another sheet to date it properly. "So it's important she's socialized so y'know, if you wanted to give your number and meet up at a park to hang out with her sometimes, we could do that."

 He voraciously chewed back his burning desire to mock her with the 'Small World' song. Piper was a metal shined too bright, her mood radiating so brilliantly it blinded. But she was nice. She was really fucking nice.

 Mackenzie took a hangnail between his teeth and peeled the flesh back, letting the sting and the small bit of blood keep him from answering too quick. Wiping his finger on the hip of his jeans, he sniffed. "Sure. Yeah. I'd be down for that."

 Rummaging through his pockets, he kept the phone in his hand, too paranoid to hand it over. "What's your number?"

 It wasn't exactly the idea that she had pitched, a subtle difference and twist that had her assuming he had about as much intentions of calling or texting as he had of doing a spontaneous handstand. Still, she smiled - albeit it was a simmer now, less vibrant as she went slow and clear reciting her phone number. Resisting the impulse to say anything about making sure he'd gotten it down correctly - deciding not to be the sort of person who leaned over to try to get a look.

"Well ... don't be a stranger, okay?"

 "Yeah, okay. Sounds good." It was a kind of charity he wasn't used to - the generosity of attention, the offer of time. Occasionally, if he was looking particularly ragged on a park bench, strangers would come up with a few dollars in their hands, but their eyes were downcast, their footsteps quick to move them away.

 Bending down, he gave Pearl one last scratch behind the ears before he stepped out of the play pen. "Good luck with her. See you around."

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